African plants (Lachenalia)
Fri, 06 Feb 2004 16:09:28 PST
In a message dated 2/6/2004 11:12:55 AM Central Standard Time, writes:

> Some pots of Lachenalia in that corner have turned to mush but others seem 
> to 
> have survived. 


I've finally concluded that Lachenalia must be quite variable, even within a 
single species, with respect to cold hardiness.   And, there must be a lot of 
variation between species.  Such variation could make sense if plants grow 
over a large altitudinal variations,  such as near the seashore and high up into 
the mountains (1,500 meters).  There are a whole lot of places in the Western 
Cape and Northern Cape provinces that are high elevation areas.   

There is no doubt that some plants can't take more than a few degrees of 
frost for any period of time (maybe most?).   There are too many reports from 
members of this list and elsewhere, so it is clear that many Lachenalia are 
sensitive to frost.    

Yet, Silverhill seeds is quite confident that the Lachenalia species they 
offer will endure temperatures to 20 F, or lower.  They rate them zone 8 hardy, 
and are clear and confident in their ratings if you email them.  Perhaps 
Silverhill has taken time to get seeds from higher elevation materials?  I do trust 
their general evaluation of their materials.  

Additionally, some members of this list have reported Lachenalia surviving 
(maybe not liking it) down to 20 F, outdoors in the ground.  One email 
correspondent reported plants surviving to near 10 F, and resprouting.  And, of course, 
recent reports here on this list show that some Lachenalia can take a fair 
bit of frost, perhaps even frozen soil.  

I tried to find information on the genus and found some information that it 
is very widespread for a South African genus, but it is most often found in the 
winter rainfall regions.  That would put members of the genus in the general 
area of Sutherland, Northern Cape (elevation 4744 ft.) and Springbok, Northern 
Cape (elevation 3600 ft).  It would also put members of the genus in many 
areas much closer to sea level.  


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